At last, Liriano is under contract


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The Pirates made official their contract with left-hander Francisco Liriano late Friday night, ending more than a month of uncertainty.

Liriano, 29, joined the Pirates accepting a one-year contract with a vesting option for 2014 after passing his physical earlier Friday.

Liriano will make $1 million guaranteed in 2013, according to a source, and can earn an additional $3.75 million, but that is dependent on how much time he spends on the disabled list because of his broken right humerus.

The team has a 2014 option worth $8 million that could vest at $5 million, $6 million or $8 million, also based on time spent on the DL because of the injury. If Liriano's 2014 option vests for less than $8 million, he can earn the difference with incentives based on games started in 2014.

The Pirates sent right-hander Vin Mazzaro outright to Class AAA Indianapolis to make room for Liriano on the 40-man roster.

While Liriano recovers, Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson will compete for the final spot in the rotation behind A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, James McDonald and Jeff Karstens.

The fight for a rotation spot will intensify in the second half of the season, when Charlie Morton should be ready to return after Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery and top prospect Gerrit Cole might be ready to make his debut. The Pirates also signed left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league contract.

Liriano can strike out batters, but he has struggled with his control in recent seasons. He walked at least 75 batters each of the past two seasons. He pitched 1912/3 innings in 2010, striking out 201 batters and posting a 3.62 ERA, but had a combined 5.23 ERA in 2011 and 2012.

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Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and Twitter: @BrinkPG. First Published February 9, 2013 5:00 AM


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